Fun things to do in Vietnam? What are the secret things only locals do?

What are some fun things to do in Vietnam which tourists rarely experience?


Country: Vietnam


Swarming onto the streets when the national soccer team wins a game has to get a mention. Although not unique to Vietnam, the results have to seen to be believed.

Imagine a street 1km long and 40m wide that is so closely packed with people on motor scooters that it will take them more than 1 hour to travel 1km ... but they don't care!

"TIME" is a thing in the life of the Vietnamese people. Not exactly a 'secret', but people here use time for what most westerners would call 'bonding'. It is generally related to the whole "face" concept. No matter how unproductive (in Western terms) the meeting/coffee/meal/visit might be, the time spent together is significant for the Vietnamese person.

Accepting invitations IS a secret to the culture (here in Southern countryside at least). If you accept an invitation to a family/community event, then there is a quid pro quo acknowledgement that you will invite people from that even ... and they WILL attend. No fake "I'd love too darling!" here!

That's just a couple things I see as a foreigner living here for 9+ years. My VN colleagues will have other suggestions I'm sure.
Drink coffee (cafe sua da) in the streets.
Eat Vietnamese noodles (Pho), they're everywhere.
Ride a cyclo.
Hitch a xe om (motorbike taxi) or drive for yourself.
eating street food, particularly Bo Nuong (bbq beef) and Lau (hot pot) where everyone at the table eats together from a common dish that is cooked at the table. Sharing coffee and tea at sidewalk places or full-on cafes is another social event that is not expensive and very popular. The bia hoi, a fresh beer pub, is a great place to visit for inexpensive beer and food and lots of animated conversation. The bia hoi can be a few plastic tables and stools on the sidewalk, all the way to big halls seating hundreds.
I think u should hang out with a Vietnamese guy who can show u around and culture in Viet Nam. Those are good ways to enjoy fun things in HCM city.
Welcome to Vietnam.
playing football with native people ( student usually) on the street, they would welcome if you look eager and friendly.
Well, coundn't describe all the things in one post! However, there're some special event that I would like to join whenever I'm in Vietnam. That is Dalat Flower festival, Festival Hue, and some special event in HOI AN on full moon time period. That is the most special event in this country, I think.

Yet if you do have a great desire of discovering the local life. It gonna be motor travel to the countryside, join the buffet in Thanh Da-Binh Qioi of Ho Chi Minh city every Saturday & Sunday night to find out the favorite vietnam southen food. It's having some cracker and cookies at the street side under the dew or joing the minority people with some smoke-horseflesh at a Homestay in Sapa in the evening. It's fishing in Tuyen Lam Lake of Da Lat infront of an beautiful nature creation. It also be hanging out with some friends on the street in Hanoi late night, or just simple having a drink in town. It's having fun on one of the world's top 5 beautiful beaches - Da Nang, or maybe Hoi An & Nha Trang & Phan Thiet. Travel along the way from the North to the South by Bus Tour on the beachside road to see hundreds of cuttle-fish boats at night or do it yourseft.

Well, as I say, It's unable to say it all in one post.
-Eating the local food in the streets (dog meat, baked chicken wings, seafood, noodle..) and drinking draught beer, smoking water tobacco pipe....
-Walking in the streets and feeling a urgent need, finding a tree to make a solution
-Going to a paddy rice field and work as the local peasants

There are so many things that most travellers don't seem to bother with. Here are some suggestions:
Instead of eating at restaurants where you see lots of other travellers, why not try local food in a place filled with local people? The food is bound to be much better. Places for travellers often serve up bland versions, often not even really Vietnamese food. Worse still, the Western food is often not what you expected either, because people here really don't eat Western food, so don't really know how to prepare it.
Try local style iced coffee, at a sidewalk stall.
If you are in Hue, I can suggest for you some places to try great local style coffee.
In Hue, try eating Hue style beef noodle soup (bun bo Hue) for breakfast. That's the most favorite local breakfast here.
Get out of the tourist district in each city - don't just go to the places the Lonely Planet or Rough Guide suggests. Every city in Vietnam is several times larger than you would guess by looking at the maps in those books.
Go see a football game at the stadium. Or, visit a pagoda and join the novices in kicking a ball around.
There is so much to do here.... be bold....
In Vietnam, Fun things are rare in my country. People works most of their time and do not have spare time for entertainment. Young people go to cinema but movies are in Vietnamese, they go to Karaoke or coffee shop where they drink any type of drinks together. Parks are simple in the whole country except in Hochiminh city, there are fun water parks.
Go to the beach @ 0600 and 1700 hours to see lots of activities- drink coffee in the small coffee shops and the high end Vietnames ones all over the country
The best way to really get under the skin of Vietnam is to get out of the cities, get on a motorbike, & just drive around the countryside. As 99% of tour companies take their guests to exactly the same places, it's not hard to avoid the tourists.

Most of the posters above have advised you to hang out in local restaurants/cafes; this isn't bad advice as such but the Vietnamese think very differently about travel to most of us westerners, and any advice they give you will be based on their own experiences & preferences. I have been told countless times by locals that Vung Tau is the best beach place in VN, when in reality it is probably the worst!

So spend some time chatting to people in the expat bars of Saigon or Hanoi; they'll often have more of an insight into things like beaches, restaurants/bars & other places worth seeing than the locals.
enjoy some traditional food of 3 popular areas in VIETNAM.
visit some interesting famous places in Ho Chi Minh City.
make friendly residents of vietnam.
There are so many fun things to do in Vietnam. Some of them are eating local food on streets, riding a cyclo around the city, driving a motorbike yourselves, speaking some Vietnamese...
The secret things only locals do are eating dog meat, eating snake, drinking rice wine with snakes, scorpions, geckos, ginseng or some other animals in it(they think it will give more potential for men, "Secret thing" only locals know. Do not tell others, come and try!). You can see some of the thing on my photo albums in my website:
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hehe actually depends on what you want. There are what you call monkey coffee, monkey hairdressing and a lot of monkey business if you know what i mean. I'm a filipino but have a lot of Vietnamese friends that's why i've discovered a lot of their secret stuff, But actually the foreigners at Pham Ngu Lao area have taught me more... just contact me anytime your here 01225002521 or ym me at
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it's homestay at Vietnamese family and you will be able know how vietnamese cook for dinner, lunch, especialy breakfast to make a pancake, a traditional food and the last thing is how vietnameses' hospitality are!
Get on a motorcycle, get out of the city, and travel the length of the country (time permitting) from north to south or vice versa.
Explore the side roads and hill roads.
Ask locals questions (use your hands and gestures if needed).
Dont be afraid to get lost- Thats part of the fun.
Plenty of mini hotels to stay almost everywhere.
In the North-west mountains- great place to home stay with the Hill Tribe people- Close to nature with people who have a different perspective to most Vietnamese.
MY favourite thing to do is get lost on a motorbike for a week in the countryside.
Every day is a new adventure- You will never run out of amazing things to see or do. Just being with the locals is an education, and an adventure.
I like Mr. Ray answer. Do not go to big tour company for every tour at same place. Go away to place where true Vietnamese is living.
Enjoy Vietnamese food and drink at each regions. Homestay and share meals the local hill tribes. Travel like the local do (Public transports). Make friend with local... By this way you will learn much about Vietnam and its people.
Enjoy your Holiday!
riding cyclo, drinking street coffee, visting museum/ Cu chi tunels, watching water puppet, ...
Why not Hue city, in mid-Vietnam? Countryside tours should get you fantastically involved in the greatest fun things you desire to have: lagoon boating, rice harvesting, kite running, traditional game playing, cuisine enjoying,etc.
Try to kill someone who you don't like,then you will get a fine instead of be put into a jail. :)
If visiting Hanoi, drinking fresh beer on streets in old quarter with cheap cost. If you are romantic, Korean road is an interest point where lovers show their emotion by paint on road. If you want to enjoy Vietnamese coffee in Vietnamese places according to Vietnamese style, let come & see. There are still many interesting things in Hanoi, you will discover them if you go with a local person
I have a BIG secret for the ladies ...
I have one more secret thing for men only that is " Black Massage". It means that you come to massage but not for massage, for some thing else.
Anh Khoa, what you are talking about is "làm dĩ". We both know it is very common, but I do not think it is an appropriate answer to this question.

Just MHO.
Well, it's easy, where are you rite now actually?

Just ask the local in reality and pick some of them to take you a ride around the town you're staying.

For ex if you're staying in HCMC, well, there're so many fun things to do, like anywhere else in the world, you can hire a bike and take a ride, stop by Turtle Lake at the center, nearby Duc Ba Church to eat and drink stuff while seeing ppl walking around, or go for a walk belong the streets, you'll see many kinds of food they sell on the pavements, it's unique HCMC taste cuz the sellers put their own spice on it.

More over, you can try some club at night, or camping in some parks with ur friend on Sunday morning, it's relly quiet because ppl like taking more sleep on bed on Sunday, then you'll have ur own space in a big quiet city ^^

Have fun!
Hope this can help you!
Climb Núi Bà Đen (Black Lady Mountain) in Tây Ninh - one of Vietnam's best kept travel secrets - for fantastic views as far as Cambodia & HCMC (120km away)!
Going out off the city on a motorbike - away from the tourist, to the country side and into the mountains, no-main-roads, just back roads through villages, not many white faces seen...
you can throw rubbish on the street and no one knows and nobody punish you.
in the street driver never yield you cross by, pedestrian have to avoid driver first, that's our fun thing.
Some streets you should pass as quick as possible even it's in the red light unless people may shout on you that you are blocking them.
people usely take private motorbike with a private driver

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